April snow showers bring May flowers? – The Wilcox Family

A late snowstorm on April 14 and subsequent freeze raises questions about canola and wheat in 2014.

A late snowstorm on April 14 and subsequent freeze raises questions about canola and wheat in 2014.

This is the scene in one of our canola fields this morning. We had a skiff of snow fall last night and this morning (April 14, 2014). While this is surprising, it’s not too unusual for us to have a little snow in April (last year it snowed a little on the 1st or 3rd of May). What makes this year’s late freeze so brutal is that our wheat has not had significant moisture since September of 2013 and the drought has stressed the wheat so much that it has literally went from a month behind to right on schedule in ONE WEEK! The canola is drought stressed also, but it seems to handle late freezes better than wheat does, generally speaking.

Getting the planter prepared to plant milo (grain sorghum) on failed canola.

Getting the planter prepared to plant milo (grain sorghum) on failed canola.

On a more optimistic note, Clint has been getting our planter geared up and ready to plant milo on the acres of canola that froze out earlier this winter. Hopefully the weather will permit us to grow a good crop of milo. We were planning on planting Milo (also called grain sorghum) early this year, but with no moisture in the soil profile and a not-so-promising weather outlook we are probably going to push our planting itinerary back and pray for the El Nino they keep talking about this fall.

We did a little prescribed burning on a Bermuda grass field early this month. Burning off the old growth and “thatch” accumulation will help control weeds, allow the new growth to take off sooner, and allow us to harrow the field to make it smoother for us to cut, rake, and bale more efficiently.

When I started talking to Clint about what to write about this month I didn’t think I had much to write about, but looking back we’ve been pretty busy. I think we are just getting ready for the craziness that is May!

Prescribed burning of bermuda grass mimics natural cycles.

Prescribed burning of bermuda grass mimics natural cycles.

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Photo feature: Pasture management with fire – The Harris Family

In the spring when we come to visit Amy’s parents she gets all juiced up! Because all the big ranches are burning their pastures off as part of their grass management program. So here’s a few pics!

Pasture burning can be an important management tool for ranchers.

Pasture burning can be an important management tool for ranchers. The prescribed burning replicates natural prairie processes of renewal.

 

Flames during a nighttime burn are visible for miles.

Flames during a nighttime burn are visible for miles.

Hoping for those “April showers” – The Harris Family

March always seems to fly by!

Zac is busy fabricating equipment to do all the things he has thought about all winter long, and most projects must be finished by April in time to use them. He also has been spraying the failed canola.

Kenda showed her first market steer at the Oklahoma Youth Expo. It was a steer we raised. She won her class and made the sale of champions as the 7th crossbred steer in the sale. In the crossbred division there were 140 steers.  Super proud of all her hard work.

We are hoping for the April showers wives tale to be true. We sure would like it to bring about some May “flowers!”  Wheat and barley need a drink and what canola that hasn’t gotten frozen out needs one too. We will begin planting milo after we return from the Legislative Action Tour in Washington DC.

Have a great one,

Zac and Amy

From one busy month to the next – The Emerson Family

Part of the Emerson's efforts goes toward raising show cattle.

Part of the Emerson’s efforts goes toward raising show cattle.

The month of March was long, cold and busy for us on the ranch. The first week we received nearly six inches of sleet and ice, which was extremely tough on the cattle and made for long days feeding and breaking ice. No matter the weather, farmers and ranchers know taking care of our animals comes first.

Kim and I make numerous livestock shows during the month from our local show in Checotah to our Regional Show held in Muskogee, which Kim serves as the beef superintendent and on the Board of Directors. Kim spends a week there helping with all facets of the show. We believe the 4-H and the FFA students are the future of agriculture and we try to support them as much as possible. During the Oklahoma Youth Expo, two heifers we raised made the champion percentage Simmental drive.

Two heifers the Emersons raised made it into the champion percentage Simmental drive.

Two heifers the Emersons raised made it into the champion percentage Simmental drive.

As I am writing this, the grass is getting greener and we are making plans on getting the cattle de-wormed, vaccinated and moved to spring pastures during the first weeks of April. The brightest spot this month has been being able to announce that Kim and I are expecting our first child in October and the excitement of sharing that with everyone. Till next time may your grass be green and your cattle fat!

 

Josh and Kim are expecting their first child in October!

Josh and Kim are expecting their first child in October!

Let it rain – The Kinder Family

Rain falling outside Ashley's office on March 26.

Rain falling outside Ashley’s office on March 26.

Today there is this wet stuff falling from the sky in southwest Oklahoma! We aren’t sure, but we think that is called RAIN!!!!!!!!!!   It is great and we hope that is will continue to come down, The Good Lord willing.

We also received a little shower last week that perked up the wheat. Hope that it and the rain today will help so that we are able to have a fair wheat harvest in the months ahead!

Kody and I are getting excited about going to Washington DC for the OFB Congressional Action Tour that is coming up on April 6-10. We are looking forward to meeting lots of new people as well as getting to spend some time with other YF&R Committee members.

A weather radar view of the storm that moved through Oklahoma on March 26.

A weather radar view of the storm that moved through Oklahoma on March 26.

There hasn’t been a lot happening around our part of the world right now. We are very grateful for the blessing of rain and hope that you received some too! Next month we will be talking about our DC trip. Until then, take care!

Out like a lion – The Wilcox Family

A #Felfie (Farm Selfie) with Ichi Mav

A #Felfie (Farm Selfie) with Ichi Mav

I think it’s safe to say March is leaving like a lion! Remember back to grade school when they told us that if March came in like a lamb it would go out like a lion? I think my first grade teacher Mrs. Rose was on to something there!

We have been very busy with our crop insurance business this month getting our farmers spring and summer planted crops insured, and short rating any acres of wheat or rye that they want to hay or graze out (harvest on the hoof). All the farmers I talked to out here in Western Oklahoma said the same thing; please send rain! I can definitely sympathize with them.

Farmers, ranchers (and their animals are ready for green grass again!

Farmers, ranchers (and their animals are ready for green grass again!

I checked the Mesonet on 3/19/14 before I spoke at the Dewey County Conservation Districts Annual Meeting/Banquet – it’s been 119 days since we have seen over .25” of rain in a single rain event here in Fairview! As bad as that sounds, it’s been 150+ days in many other places across Western OK. No wonder our wheat price is up… As the wheat has started to break dormancy and grow, more and more blue tint is showing up in fields. This is not a good sign – it means that the moisture needed to grow the plants is in short supply. The fields of Canola that escaped this brutally cold winter are also starting to really green up. Canola seems to do a little better job finding the moisture in the subsoil than wheat does, but it could use a drink too.

Spring calves on the Wilcox farm.

Spring calves on the Wilcox farm.

We are over halfway done with our spring heifers calving. It’s been a mostly uneventful calving season so far – and that’s just fine with us! I can attest to the fact that there really isn’t much in life cuter than calves.

We are hopeful that rain will soon start falling on our farms and fields, but if it doesn’t we know that it isn’t in our control and it’s just another bump in the road of farm life. Happy Spring y’all!

Beginning to thaw out – The Crain Family

Teaching a parent how to clip a goat.

Teaching a parent how to clip a goat.

Welcome to March! Well kind of just a little late. Since our last post it has been wild and crazy without a lot of extra time. In mid-February we attended the National YF&R conference in Virginia Beach. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed getting to meet other farmers from across the country as well as Canada.

With Derek being a past agricultural education instructor, we have been helping some former students with spring livestock projects.

The worst part of winter weather coming in meant getting cattle ready and making sure water was available; not to mention most of the calving occurring when temperatures are at their lowest. We think a couple of the calves’ ears may have gotten too cold as they seem to look a little stunted, but they will all be okay and we did not lose anyone to the cold temperatures.

Clearing off the roads so that drivers can make it to their destinations safely

Clearing off the roads so that drivers can make it to their destinations safely

To go along with all of that with snow storms, Derek has had to work strange, long hours clearing roads while working for ODOT.

As pastures begin to green up the cows are beginning to be happier, and we are trying to prevent some mowing of weeds in the farmyard by spraying early in the season. Till next time we make it back, enjoy your spring!